What We Can All Learn From Hess Toy Truck’s Holiday Marketing Campaign

We can all learn from Hess Toy Truck's holiday marketing campaign!

Every year my nephews beg for the new Hess Toy Truck for Christmas. They see the commercials on TV and can tell me exactly what the newest truck is capable of; what kind of gadgets it has and how many lights or sirens it comes with.

This year, I was unable to purchase the trucks at a local Hess gas station because here in the Northeast, all of the Hess stations have turned to Speedway stations. That said, I had to go online to order the trucks.

Hess has done a remarkable job of making the transition from in-store to online purchasing easy and I was impressed with their marketing strategy this year for a handful of reasons. What they did isn’t rocket science, but they executed a highly successful campaign we can all learn a thing or two from.

  1. They started marketing early. 
    By Thanksgiving I began seeing commercials on all kid and friendly – family TV stations. I also heard the jingle on the radio. My nephews were already getting psyched for this year’s toy and could tell me it was a red fire truck that came with a little fire rescue vehicle.
  2. They knew their audience.
    Hess carefully selected their audience – kids and parents. I didn’t see the commercials on MTV when I was watching Teen Mom or The Challenge, (my guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV…) but I did see the commercials on Fox News Channel, ABC Family etc. The commercial had a catchy jingle both kids and parents would end up humming all day long (the get this out of my head kind of jingle), and it featured happy kids playing with the trucks, making all 4-10 year old boys jealous.
  3. They made it easy.
    I do almost all of my holiday shopping online, but a lot of people still prefer to do things the good old fashioned way. The Hess Toy Truck commercial clearly outlined the only way to purchase this year was to go to HessToyTruck.com. (Notice they kept the URL simple too.) By keeping it simple and giving clear instructions they made even the “I’m nervous to shop online” customer the confidence to go online and order. The website was easy to use when you got there and you didn’t have to click around or search to find your product, you simply added the truck to your cart and went through the checkout process.
  4. They had great follow up.
    As soon as I ordered my trucks I got an email confirmation and various follow up emails about the shipping status. The trucks came in just a few days time and the shipping was free which was great. One of the biggest things marketers forget about is follow up. When’s the last time you sent someone an email just to see how they liked your eBook or if they had given any thought to your proposal? Or sent an email to remind people to follow you on Twitter, FB or Instagram?
  5. They went social.
    The thing that impressed me most with Hess Toy Truck was the email I got (timed perfectly) on Christmas Eve. It simply said:
    Hess Toy Truck can teach us all a lesson or two about holiday marketing!
    Not only did they send a friendly follow up email, they asked customers to use hashtag #2015HessToyTruck. This is a brilliant idea! A trending hashtag is an awesome marketing strategy and Hess will have photos to share for days if only a fraction of customers actually upload photos and use the hashtag. The point is, they went out of their way to ask. They sent a simple email, gave clear instructions and made it easy for customers to join in on the holiday action.

Next time you want to promote a new product, an eBook or idea think about Hess Toy Truck and keep things simple. Start early, know your audience, make downloading or purchasing easy and remember to follow up in a social way!

 

 

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10 Tips for Working from Home (with a Baby)

working from home

1. Create a schedule
When I first began working from home I had only a few clients and could get most of my writing done at the beginning of the week leaving me with a few “free” days for running errands etc. That is no longer the case so a schedule has become essential. My schedule doesn’t dictate what time of day I work on things, but it does tell me what needs to be done each day. Mondays – Pinterest, Tuesdays – Blogging, etc.

2. Make a to-do list
I keep a simple Excel sheet with a list of my clients, what needs to be done and when. I date everything when it comes to social media management so that I remember when I last worked on something and when those social media accounts will need to be worked on again. Being able to schedule posts ahead of time is a huge advantage but I try not to go more than two weeks out because a lot can change during that time and I always want posts to be relevant. For additional items like “Buy dog food” or “Pick up dry cleaning” I use the app Evernote. It’s FREE and a great way to remember things. It syncs between my phone and laptop so no matter what I’m working on I have access to my latest notes or reminders.

3. Plan ahead
I like to stay at least one week ahead when it comes to content creation – this way if something comes up it’s not the end of the world. When you work from home it feels like you have all the time in the world to complete tasks but at the end of the day with a fussy baby there are moments I find myself saying “What did I do today??” If you know your little one is acting fussier than usual, plan ahead and get an extra hour of work done when he or she goes to bed, so that if you lose time the next day it’s okay. I also make sure to keep Dr. appointments, meetings and anything else on the same calendar so that I can plan around things and be prepared.

4. Take advantage of nap time
This is a big one. I will make sure to save my most challenging work for nap time. I try to do things like vacuuming, folding laundry and household chores when baby is awake because it doesn’t matter if I’m interrupted a million times, but when it comes to writing, design or content planning – nap time it is!

5. Be willing to be flexible
I recently read the quote “Perfectionism is the enemy of Hustle.” I think this is perfect for remembering to stay flexible. When you have a baby toddling around nothing is ever going to be perfect and this has taken me a while to learn. I am seriously OCD when it comes to my home and keeping things tidy but at the end of the day that doesn’t get things done.

6. Schedule phone calls
When you have a baby the worst thing that can happen is an unexpected phone call during nap time or a door bell ring followed by incessant barking and chaos from your 100lb dog. (Maybe that’s just in our household haha) Regardless, nothing can mess up your day like an unexpected 30 minute conversation when you could have done a bunch of other more important things during that time. I ask all of my clients to email first and if they need to talk on the phone that’s fine but I schedule my calls in advance so 1. I can be prepared and 2. It doesn’t mess up nap time and 3. It doesn’t interfere with my other work.

7. Plan time to check and respond to emails.
Email can be a major time-sucker. Unless it’s urgent I don’t open it right away – this way it remains highlighted so I know I need to come back to it. I try to check and respond in the morning and again later in the day. As much as I want to be available to my clients, email can become a serious interruption to other work. I find I can write a better response when it’s not rushed and I’m not doing other things so setting a time for email checking and responding has proven valuable.

8. Designate a work space
I love that working from home means I can work wherever, but I like some stability so when I sit down I know, “okay, it’s work time.” We have an “office” but I hate it. It’s secluded and baby girl has no room to play. I have commandeered the breakfast bar in the kitchen as my work space instead – there’s ample space for me to spread out papers, drink my coffee and plenty of outlets for chargers. Plus I can put baby Kline in her walker or jumper and let her go to town, all within watching distance. Having a work space is great – even my dog knows when I’m sitting here I’m not to be bothered.

9. Limit distractions
Okay, we all have our lazy work from home days when we catch up on our favorite shows or watch the Today Show for an hour but when it comes down to it I cannot do my best work with the TV on. Even catchy music can get distracting for me so I limit myself to a few classical Pandora stations for some welcome background noise. I highly recommend “Piano Guys” radio to anyone that loves music – it’s all instrumental versions of your favorite songs so it’s fun but not distracting. I’ve also learned to successfully tune out Disney radio but sometimes when Frozen comes on I just have to belt out “Let it go!” for the world to hear. (baby girl thinks I’m a great singer!)

10. Enjoy your little ones while you can!
The best part of working from home is getting to spend time with your little one (s) so do it! They may be your biggest inspiration when it comes to your next creative assignment and when I’m stressed nothing is better than some quiet time nursing my baby girl. Don’t forget why you’re working from home to begin with. “Work” can always wait or you can catch up on something when the kids are in bed.

What are your top tips for working from home with kids? I’d love to hear them!

– Rachel

Boost Your Brand with Summer Sales and Networking Events

Colourful hanging sales tags with optional transparent shadow

Sales are a great way to attract new customers and if you’ve got a local storefront or office building, what better way to let people know about your products or services than to host a sale as part of a local event! Here are some ideas to consider.

  • “Beat the Heat” Sale – Similar to a “beat the clock” sale, start your prices low and raise them back to normal as the day progresses or gets hotter. You could also do a one-day only “beat the heat” sale on a particularly hot weekend this summer and simply discount all products or services.
  • Memorial Day or 4th of July Sale – Discount items of your choosing on either of these major shopping weekends. Use patriotic coupon codes like REDWHITEBLUE or AMERICA. Local businesses, get in the spirit with special discounts on your services, throw in a free miniature American flag with every purchase over $50, have your staff wear red, white or blue etc.
  • “Christmas in July” Sale – This is a fun one! You can put all of your Christmas items or cold-weather clothing on sale to move old inventory. If you’re in the service industry, advertise a special price for your standard services, but only if scheduled or completed on July 25 (or the day of your Christmas in July sale).
  • Host an Event – If you’ve got a local storefront or office but don’t have a major advertising budget, host an event to let people know about your products and services. If you’re part of your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Coalition, offer your parking lot or storefront for the next business mixer, or contact the local blood bank to find out about hosting a blood drive. These are great ways to get potential customers in your doors and it doesn’t cost much on your end. Simply provide snacks, set up a display table etc. You may even be able to find another local business who’s willing to donate food or raffle items. At the end of the day, the money spent is well worth the networking opportunities!

Promote an Event with Social Media

Hosting a business mixer, charity event or major retail sale?  Radio and print advertisements are great, but if your business is on a budget, be sure to consider the advantages of social media.

Because social media is free, you can begin promoting your event long before a small budget would allow for promotion on radio or TV.  Start a countdown and build anticipation with posts that offer a sneak peak of what’s to come or provide incentive for people to visit your website for more information.  Not only will people check back to see what’s happening on your Facebook page, but providing incentive to visit your website for more information can boost web traffic leading up to the event.

Provide information and photos on your company blog so that customers and fans can find all event details in one place and easily share the information with others.  Is registration required or do you plan to offer a special discount to the first 100 customers?  Include a link to the registration forms on your blog or create a Facebook-Only coupon to increase page likes and engagement leading up to the event.  The goal is to spread the word about the event and create a call to action that will get consumers to follow through and attend/vote/purchase an item on the day of your event.

If you spend weeks promoting a special event, be sure to post follow up photos and to thank your fans and followers for their support.  If someone has seen updates about your charity drive in their Facebook newsfeed for weeks, they are going to be disappointed if they never see photos from the charity event itself.  Make sure people see what their time/money/efforts have contributed to.

ReBath and More supports Schreiber Pediatric’s Rubber Ducky Race and Festival each summer, so I recently began promoting the event via the company Facebook page.  Closer to the event we have a TV segment planned and Schreiber has representatives on local radio stations throughout the month of July leading up to the even on July 27.  With Facebook I’m able to encourage people to buy ducks for the race, tell them about the event and what it supports and spread the word about the festival and ducky race.  By selling ducks on site we are able to increase traffic to our showroom and demonstrate our commitment to community.

Whether your event is large or small, social media can add tremendous value to a limited advertising budget, helping you reach a larger audience and generate a greater turnout/increased sales. Not only does an event give people a reason to visit your business on social media but it can drive traffic to your website and provide valuable content for your company blog and other web pages. See how HighleyDesigned helped ReBath and More promote the Schreiber Pediatric Rubber Ducky Race and Fesitval by visiting the company blog or checking them out on Facebook.

Below is one of the fliers I created to promote the event throughout the shopping center where ReBath is located.  I asked the other local businesses to send people our way to purchase ducks for charity, ultimately supporting a good cause and increasing our business at the same time.

Event Flier

Event Flier for Local Marketing

Save the Date!

If you’re planning your wedding on a budget (like me) then DIY is always in style.  We wanted to do a creative save the date but magnets were almost $3 each and what do people really do with those after the wedding anyway?  So we decided to keep it simple, design our own, and we even had a family member take the photos for us so we could save our pennies for the big day. I was able to create a postcard design that’s classic, to the point and within our budget.  And we got lots of compliments on them!

Our Very Simple Save the Dates

Our Very Simple Save the Dates

I also wanted a cute way to ask my bridesmaids to be in my wedding.  I couldn’t hand deliver them so I wanted something that would be special when they received it.  I went with a simple postcard size design and here is how they turned out.

How Could They Say No?

How Could They Say No?